Sensitivity to Natural Events

Assessment of the sensitivity of the ‘Sea pens and burrowing megafauna’ biotope complex to naturally-occurring agents of environmental change has to be largely subjective, given the short time period over which the system has been accessible to study. Detailed studies of these biotopes have been carried out at only a handful of sites, and most work is still at the stage of characterizing the communities and gaining information on the basic biology of their principal species. There has not been time to accumulate the long-term observations of community structure and response to natural events that are available for habitats such as the rocky intertidal. This chapter therefore consists largely of case studies illustrating factors which have been shown to cause changes in sea pen or megafaunal burrower populations.

Case studies of population stability and change

Potential agents of change